Matt Kemp Continuing To Prove Key In Dodgers’ Success
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps no one but Matt Kemp could have foreseen this. After all, he was essentially on borrowed time when the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a salary-motivated trade with the Atlanta Braves last December.

Kemp was immediately written off, with the expectation he would be traded or released prior to Spring Training. He ultimately reported to camp with the Dodgers, then was included on their Opening Day roster.

Thus far, he’s been the team’s best hitter, particularly with runners in scoring position. “He’s been fantastic. Every at-bat in there, he’s just grinding at-bats,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

“Really, a tough out. He’s getting big hits for us, taking the walk when he needs to. Defensively, he’s considerably better than he’s been the last few years. A staple in the middle of the order is what he’s been for us.”

Kemp delivered again Friday night, with his three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning putting the San Diego Padres in a deficit they never emerged from.

“Just trying to put good at-bats together, trying to make something happen,” Kemp said of his success at the plate.

The home run was Kemp’s sixth of the season; four have come against the Padres team. “I don’t know,” he answered when asked about the tendency to punish his former team. “Just so happens to be four home runs against them. I probably need to start hitting home runs off some other teams as well.”

The three-run homer was the Dodgers’ first since April 16, which Kemp also hit… against the Padres, but at Petco Park.

“Oh, really? Wow,” he responded when informed of the coincidental fact. “That’s not good. Maybe we need some more. I’m going to tell the guys that tomorrow.”

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